What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where customers can gamble on various games of chance or skill. Some of these games include poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Many casinos also feature musical shows and lighted fountains. Casinos can be found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Chicago and elsewhere in the United States. They are often combined with hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues.

Most people think of a casino as a massive megaresort stuffed with games and glitz, but they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small businesses defined more by the type of gambling they offer than by glitz and glamour. Others are huge, and they can be found paired with resorts, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions.

Whether or not they are glamorous, all casinos share a similar business model: They make money by giving patrons the opportunity to gamble. Each game has a built in advantage for the casino, which can be quite small (less than two percent). This edge, plus a fee known as the rake or vig, provides the billions in profits casinos generate every year.

Until recently, organized crime figures controlled most of the casinos in Reno and Las Vegas. However, as real estate investors and hotel chains grew richer, they took over much of the mafia’s casino holdings. This gave legitimate businessmen more control over their gambling cash cows and made them less susceptible to mob interference. In addition, federal crackdowns on gangster activities mean that even the faintest hint of mafia involvement can cost a casino its gaming license.